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Christ, Man of Sorrows
Morales, Luis de
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Morales, Luis de

Badajoz (Spain), 1510 - Alcántara? (Spain), 1586

See author's file

Christ, Man of Sorrows

1566. Oil on panel.
Room 052C

Like The Virgin and Child with a Spindle (P07864), this panel formed part of the altar of St Anne in Badajoz Cathedral, commissioned by the bishop of the time, Juan de Ribera (1532-1611). It is really a reduction to a half-length format of the picture of the same title at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, also shown in this exhibition. After being scourged, crowned with thorns and cloaked in a blue robe that reveals part of his muscular naked torso, Christ is seen seated on a stone block, just visible in the background on the right, and appears to meditate on his fate. He adopts the posture that corresponds to a state of melancholy, with his slightly inclined head resting on his left hand, and his left arm resting on the other, which is bent horizontally at the elbow while the hand falls limply. The totally dark background against which the monumental figure is projected indicates that this is not a narrative scene, since the painter deliberately relinquishes any coordinates of time and space in order to configure a devotional image that arouses empathetic feelings of compunction and repentance in the viewer, heightened by the fact that the figure is positioned in the immediate foreground, almost invading the viewer’s space. Like the aforementioned Virgin, which also comes from the Colección Peña Castillo, the picture is in an excellent state of conservation.

The Biblical source of the subject is not to be sought so much in the Gospel narratives of the crowning with thorns as in the book of the prophet Isaiah, which contains a short poem dedicated to the Servant of Jehovah where the Messiah is described as despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Isaiah, 53, 3). This text had long been used in the Good Friday liturgy. Morales’s graphic referents were probably two engravings by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), the celebrated Melancholia of 1524 for the position of the head, hands and arms, and the frontispiece of the Small Passion of 1510, where Christ, alone and naked, is seen seated on a slab of stone with his robe gathered around his hips. He here appears in an attitude of meditation, resting his head, crowned with thorns, on the hand of his right arm while the left is crossed over his knees. The Latin inscription which appears underneath could well have been read by Morales, since it explains the deeper significance of the picture very well: Oh cause of so many sorrows for me, the Just, oh cruel cause of my cross and my death, oh mankind, had it sufficed you to lead me through this trial only once, you would cease to torment me with new faults (Text drawn from Rodríguez G. de Ceballos, A. in: The Divine Morales, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2015, p. 118).


Technical data

Inventory number
Morales, Luis de
Christ, Man of Sorrows
Height: 60.5 cm; Width: 44 cm
Peña Castillo Collection, Madrid; assigned by the State to the Museo del Prado, 2011.

Bibliography +

Backsbacka, Ingjald, Luis de Morales, Helsingfors, Helsinki, 1962, pp. 167, n. 40.

Solis Rodriguez, Carmelo, Luis de Morales, Fundación Caja de Badajoz, Badajoz, 1999, pp. 266.

Rodríguez G. de Ceballos, Alfonso, 'Luis de Morales. Cristo, Varón de Dolores' En:, El Divino Morales, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2015, pp. 118-119 n. 23.

Martínez Plaza, Pedro J. y Pérez-Seoane Mazzuchelli, Carmen, La colección Adanero – Castro Serna en Madrid. De la Restauración a la Guerra Civil, LOCVS AMŒNVS, 19, 2021, pp. 177-219.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2669.

Inscriptions +

F 12877
Inscribed with chalk. Back

Inscribed in golden colour. Back

Inscribed in golden colour. Back

Nº 7867

Exhibitions +

El Divino Morales
16.06.2016 - 25.09.2016

El Divino Morales
09.02.2016 - 16.05.2016

El Divino Morales
06.10.2015 - 10.01.2016

Location +

Room 052C (On Display)

Update date: 20-09-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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